TexasEscapes.com Texas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1800 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP : : SEARCH SITE
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 
  Texas : Features : Columns : All Things Historical :

"Take Care of My Little Boy"

by Archie P. McDonald
Archie McDonald Ph.D.

The second most quoted letter William B. Travis penned in the Alamo while awaiting Santa Anna's assault began, "Take care of my little boy. If the country should be saved, I may make him a splendid fortune; but if the country should be lost, and I should perish, he will have nothing but the proud recollection that he is the son of the man who died for his country."

Travis wrote this last letter from the Alamo early in March 1836 to David Ayers, who operated a mercantile business and also ran a small school in his home in Washington County. The message concerned Travis' son, Charles Edward, who boarded and attended Ayers' school. We know what happened to William B. Travis in the final and fatal defense of the Alamo, but who is David Ayers?

Ayers was born in Morristown, New Jersey, on August 10, 1793. Ayers married Lydia Ann McHenry in 1815, and worked in the mercantile in Ithaca, New York. Ayers migrated to Texas in 1832 and claimed land not far from the Brazos River and the community eventually known as Washington-on-the Brazos. He returned to New York to bring his family, including his brothers, to Texas, and with them a box of Bibles and other books supplied by the New York Sunday School Union.

Ayers was a Methodist missionary in addition to his business and secular educational interests. Another letter written by Travis several years before he died at the Alamo had requested that Methodist missionaries be sent to Texas. Protestant religious work was prohibited under Mexican law, but that was a law easily evaded due to non-existent endorsement. As early as 1832 Samuel Doak McMahon had begun Methodist meetings at his home near San Augustine, and Baptists and Presbyterians also had initiated meetings in Nacogdoches and elsewhere. Ayers helped organize an official Methodist conference and served as its secretary.

Ayers did not fight in the Revolution, owing to a hearing deficiency, but he did assist in helping families involved in the Runaway Scrape. He returned after the Texian victory at San Jacinto to find his home destroyed, so he relocated first to the Bellville area, then Washington, and finally to Galveston. In each venue Ayers either helped to found or to foster an existing Methodist meeting, including service as secretary of the first Methodist Missionary Society and the founding of Rutersville College in 1840.

Ayers spent his final years in Galveston, again in the mercantile business, although he served as United States deputy marshal, published the Texas Christian Advocate, and remained an active supporter of St. James Methodist Church until his death on October 25, 1881.

Archie P. McDonald
All Things Historical
March 31, 2008 column
A syndicated column in over 70 East Texas newspapers
(The East Texas Historical Association provides this column as a public service. Archie P. McDonald is director of the Association and author of more than 20 books on Texas.)

Related Topics: Texas | Online Magazine | Texas Towns | East Texas |
Features | History | Columns | All Things Historical |

Books by Archie P. McDonald - Order Here

Texas
Primary Source Accounts of the Civil War
William Barrett Travis
 
 
HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES

Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | MAPS

TEXAS FEATURES
Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | USA | MEXICO

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
Website Content Copyright 1998-2008. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: March 31, 2008